Carry-on reading

International Standards for multimedia e-publishing

By Morand Fachot

e-books are bringing new opportunities to the publishing industry. Offering more than a mere interface for reading text, e-bookscan provide much better picture quality than is available on a computer screen; they also offer the ability to create multimedia interactive storytelling. At the same time, e-books offer advertisers new opportunities to reach audiences.

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Improved technologies

Technologies have improved to such an extent that users now have many choices of screen and also of methods for downloading new material. Some are cross-platform, making them compatible with a variety of systems that offer "carry around" cloud computing-based reading collections. Most, in addition to decoding their own proprietary formats, will read open standard files such as EPUB, the dedicated e-book format, and PDF (portable document format).

Combining portability with ability to exchange files

The need to combine portability with the ability to exchange files between systems calls for standards that will ensure the interconnectability that is crucial to the optimum operation of this digital platform.

International Standards for multimedia e-books and e-publishing

IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100, TA (Technical Area) 10: Multimedia, produces International Standards for multimedia e-books, multimedia e-publishing and related technologies. These cover formats of multimedia e-book contents; minimum requirements and user interfaces for multimedia e-book viewers; e-publishing services; and also guidelines for e-book distribution by interchangeable storage media.

In 2011 TC 100 published:

  • IEC 62571, Digital Audiobook File Format and Player Requirements
  • IEC 62605, Multimedia systems and equipment – Multimedia e-publishing and ebooks – Interchange format for e-dictionaries.

TC 100/TA 10 is also discussing other important technology areas to establish digital audiobook file formats and player requirements and an interchange format for e-dictionaries, together with a texture map for auditory presentation of printed text.

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Digital reading Photo: claudio-sepulveda-geoffroy Digital reading Photo: claudio-sepulveda-geoffroy
Sony e-reader. Sony e-reader.